Thursday, 22 September 2011

Forbes Predicts Who Will Hip-Hop's First Billionaire Be

We at Hustle On Your Grind homey, we salute hustlers of all kinds - make that paper.

Forbes magazine predicts five artists to watch  that are way on their way to being billionaires: Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, Bryan “Birdman” Williams, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. All five already boast nine-figure fortunes.

“I think Young Money Cash Money would be the first billion-dollar brand in hip-hop,” said Birdman referring to his record label. “We strong and growing every day as a brand and fast. Within the next few years we will be billionaires.”

But Forbes states that Diddy is the closest, with an estimated net worth of $500 million. He’s taken to calling himself “Ciroc Obama,” and with good reason: his vodka deal with beverage giant Diageo could soon land him in some very exclusive company. Diddy receives an annual cut of profits and a big chunk of cash if Ciroc is ever sold. With the spirit’s value speeding toward $1 billion—on top of stakes in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, marketing firm Blue Flame and record label Bad Boy—Diddy may be beat buddy Jay-Z to the Forbes 400.

Jay-Z, however, is close behind with an estimated fortune of $450 million. Beyonc√©’s husband sold his Rocawear clothing label for $204 million in 2007 and signed 10-year $150 million Live Nation deal in 2008.

He still holds stakes in a wide range of businesses including the soon-t0-be Brooklyn Nets, the 40/40 Club chain, ad firm Translation, cosmetics company Carol’s Daughter and other ventures. His lyrical boasts (“I’m like really half a billie”) appear accurate, at least if you round up.

Perhaps more than any other hip-hop artist, Dr. Dre’s financial star has been on the rise this year. The bulk of his $250 million fortune comes from Beats Electronics, the headphone maker Dr. Dre founded with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine in 2008.

In early August, handset maker HTC paid $300 million to buy a 51% stake in Beats. Sources say Iovine and Dre each owned a third of the company before the deal; FORBES estimates that Dre will take home $85 million after taxes. The agreement also values his remaining stake at $100 million, which could increase rapidly as the company continues to expand.

Unlike the somewhat reclusive Dr. Dre, Birdman makes no secret about his billion dollar dreams. The New Orleans-born rapper-turned-mogul co-founded Cash Money Records with brother Ronald two decades ago and inked a very favorable $30 million distribution deal with Universal in 1998.

The label’s value has soared with the success of rappers Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, all of whom made this year’s Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, bringing his total net worth to an estimated $110 million (he insists he’s worth more).

50 Cent rounds out the “Forbes Five” at $100 million. After receiving nine figures for his Vitaminwater stake in 2007, 50 spent freely on cars and renovations to mansion formerly owned by Mike Tyson.

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